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learning Direct3D 9, 10 or 11?

I'm just starting to learn DirectX, and I was wondering what the best version would be best to develop for. I'm trying DirectX 9 right now, but was wondering if I should use 10 or 11... Which version is the most commonly used version for games nowadays? I want to be able to play my game on most versions of windows... Is DirectX 9 still used a lot now?

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store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey Steam's Hardware and Software statistics. These are always a good source to see what people are using right now, and yes, there is a lot of DX9 going on still :) –  James Feb 9 '12 at 23:46
    
Thanks, just what I was looking for! –  zachy64 Feb 9 '12 at 23:52
    
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marked as duplicate by Nicol Bolas, Tetrad Feb 11 '12 at 17:27

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I like 10, because my laptop supports it, and the 590 in my desktop doesn't like the airplane charger.

9 is good because that's what the PS3 and XBOX 360 support.

11 is freakin' amazing because of the features it offers (hull shaders induce a Pavlovian response).

However, this is really a "target audience" question. If you're writing a paper, who comprises your target audience? Do you have to explain "pixel" or "floating point underflow?" Do you want to run on OLPC devices, or Sager custom laptops?

The Steam stats are a good start, but there are a few things to consider:

  1. What hardware do you have available right now to work on? If your PC is ten years old, it may be a good benchmark for what your clients will have, and actually writing and finishing a project is the biggest hurdle every game developer has to conquer.
  2. How long do you think it'll take to finish the game? Multiply that by four, and guess what most COTS PCs will have in terms of video capability at that point.

I've read that big game shops target next gen hardware for everything they do, and provide the ability to dial it back if necessary. However, building a game from scratch that targets multiple back-ends (DX9,DX10.*,DX11,OpenGL2/3/blah, OpenGL ES blah) is a huge task - in fact, some companies have built their business around it (Unreal).

DX10 is pretty safe because most hardware supports it and it provides a lot of capabilities and performance that DX9 doesn't, and a dev cycle of less than year is impractical if you're married or have a real job, so that's what I'm working with.

Good luck!

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At the same time, you can target D3D10 class hardware with the D3D11 API, so preferring 11 over 10 will give you a better route for jumping up to full 11 as well as the ability to use the additional capabilities on hardware that supports them. –  Jimmy Shelter Feb 11 '12 at 0:46
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I'd go for either 9 or 11 (with feature levels). 9 is for the case where you know that you still need to run on Windows XP; if you're happy to ditch XP on the other hand, then 11 will run on any device that can run 9 or 10, and feature levels will give you legacy hardware compatibility.

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I agree with mh01. DirectX 10 was ever really used much. Most devs either use DX9 or DX11. –  GG GG Feb 10 '12 at 21:03
    
I think history will show 10 to be similar to 8 - an intermediate version that did some much needed cleaning up, brought some new functionality, but was very quickly superseded by a not-wildly-different version that was the Real Thing. –  Jimmy Shelter Feb 10 '12 at 22:19
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The goal is to make your games look great on the lowest (common) target, which is often the average consumer, I would make your development aim at making your game look great on Direct X 9, and then when you have that working well, add support for all the fancy features in Direct X 10/11. My inspiration for this opinion is the fact that there is still a major portion of the consumer market still gaming on Windows XP (Direct X 9 Maximum), a large portion on low cost graphics cards, and Xbox 360 and PS3 only offer Direct X 9 support [This is kind of a lie, Xbox 360 supports Direct X 10 features].

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